[Side text: Born from the tears of a girl who does not age... the Crimson Pearl. This concentrated sphere of sorrow is entrusted to Watanuki.]
[Side text: The shock of learning the truth about the Crimson Pearl awakens Watanuki from his dream. And clutched in his hand lies the crystallised tear itself.]
Jorougumo: It would appear you have obtained it.
Mokona: The Jorougumo's here, so you're gonna have tasty sake, right?! / Mokona wants some too~!
Jorougumo: My, how lovely.
Jorougumo: Dear me. / Your kudakitsune looks like a brush.
Watanuki: Please. / Come on in.
Jorougumo: Are you sure? / You don't want me to use the other room again?
Watanuki: I have other protective precautions. / Besides which...
Watanuki: The item you asked for is right here.
Jorougumo: Indeed. // That is most certainly the Crimson Pearl, formed from that girl's tears.
Watanuki: What exactly...
Jorougumo: What did you think she was?
Watanuki: ...A human... // ...who... // ...has consumed the flesh of a mermaid.
Jorougumo: Correct. // What was the word for a human who has extended his or her life by consuming mermaid flesh?
Watanuki: You mean, a Yaobikuni?
Jorougumo: Yes... // That's right. // It would seem your title as owner of this shop is not just for show.
Watanuki: Oh, I am still new at this.
Jorougumo: Yes... / For the moment.
Jorougumo: Yet time flows ever onward. / The tiniest of things in the here and now can grow greater and greater with time. // As the years go by, humans grow older... // ...and ultimately die.
Watanuki: I will die, as well.
Jorougumo: But you will live for so long. / Far longer than the humans around you.
Jorougumo: Just like that Yaobikuni. // Even knowing that fact, / that girl always kept on searching... // ...for a human who would provide her with company. / Over and over again. // However... / now... // I feel that she may no longer be able to produce any more Crimson Pearls. // She spent so long with this latest human.
Watanuki: Did you know about the way he was beating her?
Jorougumo: Yes. / And the fact that she was not healing her wounds. // A long time ago... // ...she healed the wounds she bore immediately, so as not to cause worry to the human she was with. / But when she did, he ran away from her then and there. // After that, she said that she would be more careful not to do so when there were others around. // Well, I suppose that is only natural when spending time with humans. // Even though as long as wounds go unhealed, the bearer must suffer the pain...
Jorougumo: For the moment, your wounds remain like so...
Jorougumo: ...but in time, it may well be the case... / ...that your wounds too will heal just as quickly as hers. // Once your powers become stronger... // ...I daresay you will no longer need these, either.
Jorougumo: For even without them, you will still be able to "see". // When that happens, will you still be human? // Or will you be more akin to one of us?
Watanuki: I cannot say. // But... / ...whether I am human, or something else entirely... // ...I will be satisfied as long as I can use this power for the sake of those humans, and non-humans, that are precious to me.
Jorougumi: Is that why you took over the shop?
Watanuki: ...I suppose...
Watanuki: It is entirely possible that my choice was not correct, but it was the decision that I made. / I do not wish to regret it. // And so... // ...I think that you should go and see her. / That girl. // As she gave me the Pearl, she said something...
Watanuki: "You are like me, are you not?", she said.
Jorougumo: Because you, like her, do not age.
Watanuki: I don't think that's all she meant by it. // I think she is waiting. // Always waiting, no matter how wounded her heart becomes.
Jorougumo: For what?
Watanuki: In her case... // ...for someone who can keep her company. // Of course... // ...the decision lies with you.
Jorougumo: You really are... / ...not as cute as you used to be.
[Side text: Simply delivering the requested item is not all his job entails. Watanuki's unsolicited words pierce deeply into the Jorougumo's heart.]
[Bottom text: To be continued next issue - see you in Young Magazine Issue 14, on sale Monday 8th March!]
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